The absolute Ups and Downs that has guided me through motherhood.
Sitting here- 19, in the car with my cousin Caitlin. We’re waiting to go to class. This is our first semester in college, and I chose to move away from my family and go to college North East and away from home. Caitlin and I just finished jammin’ out to Luke Bryan’s ‘Corn makes Whiskey’ and I start to investigate my hands.
“hmm, does this look weird to you?” I ask.
“Well, they look pretty blue.” Caitlin replys.
Waiting for the doctor to come into the room. Caitlin has aquainted me here at the doctor.
“What can I do ya for?” Asked the doctor.
“My hands are blue, and I don’t understand.” I reply.
(Doctor whispers something to the nurse.)
Kneeling in the hall of the doctors office, I call my mom.
“Mom, I’m pregnant.” I cautiously explain.
“Oh, geeze. Do you want to tell your dad, or should I?”
“Can you please?” I reply.
(My dad was sitting near, and my mom tells him without hesitation.)
“Goddammit!” Was his response in the faint background
Sitting here, 12 am. 6 months pregnant. Waiting downtown to pick up my boyfriend of 5 years (high school sweetheart), he’s incapable of driving at this point. He’s all wound up after a night out. He’s young, but newly old enough to legally drink. He is being feisty and just wants to pick a fight for the fun of it. I am driving and he is having fun calling me names, trying to get a rise by making me jealous. He starts to make Bruce Lee noises and pretend to karate chop me, and nips my face. I punch him back in the side of the head. I pull over into an outlet. I’m emotional, and he tries to calm me down, but doesn’t seem to work. Nearby security calls the cops.
“I see you left a mark on him, we’re going to have to take you in.” The cop says.
Sitting crouched here, in a holding cell. There is bologna on the walls, and recovering drunks sleeping on the floor. I am crying. I am in a nice long summer maxi dress, that I am dreading having touch the floor of this cell. Holding my belly, the sheriff comes and calls me over to tell me I have been released. I walk out to find my dad and his oldest brother. They both welcome me with the biggest hug and kiss.
Standing soon after child birth, November 2010. My first bon has arrived. Delivery room packed with family.
Kneeling by the tree, Christmas Day, with a newborn baby. My mom leaves.
Laying here, passed out mid daylight at a graduation party next door to my Uncles house. I have my best friend, my dad, brother, and my cousin Danielle with me. I’m drunk, incapable of taking care of my 8 month old. Danielle steps in and cares for my daughter for me. That day hurt. More than words can express.
Sitting here, in my car outside of the doctor’s office. I am interning for a requirement for the end of my trade school certification. On the phone with my first borns father. Arguing about if I even have what it takes to become something of this internship. Our relationship ends that day; I didn’t get the job.
Kneeling here- forehead to the floor, after opening the door to his room. My dads gone.
Sitting here, 21, living with my dad’s sister for she has taken me in. Contemplating life as it truly is. Pregnant with a new boyfriend I had met two weeks before my dad’s passing, thoughts of it being a sign for him to be in my life.
Laying on the couch, 14 hours into my second shift at my second job, trying to stay awake at knock hours.
Am I Standing here? numb. when all signs point to no, when his pupils are pin needle, when my gut aches. Knowing I am both paralyzed and color blinded.
Sitting here, in a crummy apartment, wondering where the rent money is. Working longer hours, sick. To make up for missing rent. Now, face to face with the culprit with my earnings as his loot.
“We need that to put a roof over the kids heads!”
“I’m leaving, I’ll be back later.” he replys.
“You’re not leaving with the rent money again!”
I couldn’t let him leave. I have worked until I was sick physically and mentally drained, I have driven countless hours of commute, I have sweat, been puked on, pooped on, insulted by customers, residents. I worked until I was delirious and driving home just to get by being the only bread bringer. I did the only thing I can think of.
“Sorry, we get a call. We have to take someone in. He had a mark on him.” -Officer
Crouched here, in a cell, once again. This time, he made the call.
Laying– Sleeping on this secret. Too ashamed to tell my family what happened, ashamed my marriage is quickly failing after only a few months of matrimoney.
Sitting here, in a salon chair for the first time. Only a few hours until my first shift of the evening. I get a call from my boss.
“Hey, there are police officers who are trying to reach you. They left me their number, it’s urgent you call them back. ”
I call them back, completely confused. My heart dropped, and knew what I needed to do. I called my younger brother to take me to go pick up my baby from Child protective services. I get there and spoke with the officers.
“Your daughter is completely fine! She was fast asleep in the back seat of your car, he on the other hand is in the hospital, recovering. He’s lucky there was an ambulance near by, he could have died.”
“I don’t care about him, his choices, or his state! All I care about is my baby! Where is she?”
In my car, Chin held high, late in the evening. I start to cry- hysterically. I being to pray to my father for the first time. I am angry, I ask for guidance. I beg him to give me a sign on what I should do. Hitting the steering wheel and stressing on my hair and face didn’t do much until I calm myself by burying my face to the palms of my hands in hopelessness. A song plays unusually loud on the radio. A song I never heard of before that day.
She had a dead-end job at the National bank
And a deadbeat husband that always drank
So when he didn’t come home, she had the gin to thank
For the tears in her eyes
So Dixie packed up and said her goodbyes.Danielle Bradbery- Heart of Dixie
Standing on my own two feet, for what feels like the first time. Although I have made my own choices, they never seem to be the best. It was time to truly reach out. I ran to my dad’s brothers. I asked 2 of his brothers for legal advice being they’re in law enforcement. I told them everything, balling. I ran to my dad’s oldest brother for moral support and to help sketch out a plan to get out. I ran to my brothers for their love, and support. I ran to my mom for ammends and her help as a loving mother as she has always been. I ran to my cousin Danielle, who in essence is also my best friend to be my absolute own self and spill everything and anything with.
I stood there with dignity, with fight, with love and support all around me.
I’m standing here with a plan. I can’t just leave. I plan for a new place without him. I begged him to go away for 6 months to recover as if everything will be okay. I did all the necesary paperwork to protect my family. I got a roommate who can help, so I don’t have to work as hard. I plan to escape in the most subtle and discrete way. The process has begun.
Standing here, with a new job, new career, new car, new benefits. All within just shy of a year, I left toxicity and grew strength I never knew I had because I was oblivious to being weak.
I have fallen so low, I have dropped to my knees from experiences and choices I have made. I have had my lows, but I always got up because of my kids and learning to use my best judgement in the most difficult of times when I had made choices based off my worst judgement. Ultimately, I wouldn’t have ever done it if it wasn’t for me peeking out of the ditches I fell into to see whats around. Being in the now and aware and knowing it was okay to ask for help really changed my life because of that outlook. I didn’t just get up, I saw the hands reaching for mine. I learned to save my energy when I was wounded to give myself a clear mind and continue to fight.
Motherhood is hard, have being a single parent once or twice is extremely hard. Expect that there will be days of discouragement and then there are days you’re motivated, progressing, and feelings of accomplishment.